Spotlit Scene
Popular Photography|October 2016

Shaping the directionality of the light can add life to fabric.

Peter Kolonia

TOM M. JOHNSON, whose photos of Pittsburgh parking lot attendants appeared in this magazine’s My Project department last summer, specializes in location portraits and has loads of cool lighting tricks up his sleeve. One of the most striking characteristics of his singular portrait of writer and performing artist Christiane Dolores in a church pew, for example, is the otherworldly sheen that the lighting brings out in the dress.

He did it in part by giving his strobe’s output extra directionality. “I have a grid attachment that I use from time to time on my 3-foot Profoto Octa Softbox to make the light more directional,” he explains.

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